The Kamloops Broncos are in a dire spot, and they’re looking for major help from the community to keep the team afloat.
According to an open letter posted to the team’s Instagram account, the BC Football Conference club’s board of directors said the team needs six figures of sponsorship money and about 50 volunteers.
“We are looking for a rough estimate of around 50 volunteers and $200,000 from donors and sponsorships to come forward this off-season,” the letter reads.
“We’re asking for a response to this letter in the next six weeks or else the harsh conversation will have to be had about the state of the league as a whole and the immediate future of the program.”
According to the club, travel costs have spiked in recent years, including the addition of a BCFC team in Prince George, which requires more costly travel.
“Travel costs alone have risen substantially and the team expensed over $25,000 for the 2023 season,” the letter reads.
The Broncos have struggled on the field since their inaugural BCFC season in 2007, posting one winning season and one .500 season. They finished the 2023 campaign with two wins and eight losses, good for fifth in the seven-team league — a season for which the team was very optimistic.
If the Broncos were to fold, it would not be the first time the Tournament Capital has lost a BCFC team to financial turmoil. The Kamloops Cowboys were relegated to non-playing status by the league in 2003, a few years after that team was founded.
Anyone interested in discussing sponsorship or volunteer opportunities with the Broncos is encouraged to send an email to the club.
One bad quarter stood between the Okanagan Sun and a chance to defend their Canadian Junior Football championship.
The Westshore Rebels took advantage of two turnovers and a stout defence to score 29 unanswered points in the third quarter in a 33-19 win over the Sun in the BCFC title game.
The Rebels will host the winner of Sunday's CJFL semi-final between the Saskatoon Hilltops and St. Clair Saints in the Canadian Bowl Nov. 11.
The Sun took advantage of four turnovers in the opening half to take a 12-4 lead into the halftime locker room.
Trailing 4-0 following a pair of conceded safeties, Owen Landry broke through and blocked a Rebels punt through the end zone for a Sun safety.
On the next Westshore possession, Tariq Brown returned a Te Jessie interception to the Rebels 25. Six plays later, including a conversion on third and one, Elelyon Noa burst through from four yards out to put the Sun ahead for the first time.
A second blocked punt from Philip Palmarin in the final minute put the ball on the Rebels 31.
They managed just a 32-yard Liam Attwood field goal for the 12-4 lead.
The Sun took the opening kickoff to start the third quarter with a chance to build on their second quarter momentum, but mistakes opened the door for the Rebels.
Defensive player of the year Demar Hohnstein scooped up a loose ball following a bad snap on second and two and sprinted 20 yards for the touchdown on the second play of the half. Jessie connected with Christopher Vincent with the two point conversion to even the score 12-12.
After a bad punt on their next possession put the ball on the Sun 48, Jessie needed just seven plays to march the team down the field, culminated by his own one-yard plunge.
The Rebels recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff leading to Jessie's five-yard touchdown toss to Cairo Berry putting the Rebels up 26-12.
They went up three scores when Berry returned the next punt to the Sun 24 leading to a four-yard run by Gerren Hardisty.
The Sun tried to make a game of it in the fourth quarter when Liam Kroeger, who replaced starter Hunter Norman late in the third, hit Ethan Marshall for a 30 yard score just two-and-a-half minutes into the final quarter.
They got to the Rebels 25 after recovering a Rebels fumble, but the drive was snuffed out when Kroeger was intercepted in the end zone.
They turned the ball over on downs on their next series at the Rebels 22 effectively ending any chance of a late comeback.
The Sun forced six Rebels turnovers but were only able to turn them into 12 points. The Rebels, who forced three turnovers, scored 14 points and stopped a promising Sun drive off those.
Unofficially, the Rebels amassed 331 yards of total offence compared with 335 for the Sun.
Saturday's 33-16 BCFC semi-final victory by the Okanagan Sun didn't come close to telling the whole story.
The score flattered the Sun who were sloppy and at times seemingly disinterested in their playoff tilt with the visiting Valley Huskers.
They needed two big plays in the first half just to take a one score lead into the locker room and a defence that forced six turnovers despite giving up more yardage than it has in any one game this season.
Husker quarterbacks sliced and diced the Sun secondary for 373 yards through the air. Backup Lucas Feaver who replaced the injured Tyran Duval late in the first half was particularly effective hitting on 23 of 34 for 272 yards and a touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, the offence struggled to consistently move the football, partly due to a ferocious Huskers front seven who smothered the Sun vaunted run game and a receiving corps with a collective case of the dropsies.
Sun head coach Travis Miller admitted after the game his team may have had their minds on other things.
"We probably had our heads too far ahead of things based on last week's performance. We're notorious for overlooking opponents and I think this was one of those things where we were looking toward Westshore without looking at what we were about to play," said Miller.
It was the defence that got things rolling when Tariq Brown playing centre field from his safety spot picked off Duval and scampered 32 yards for the opening touchdown.
The Sun forced a safety late in the quarter but it was until later in the second when the offence finally found paydirt thanks to running back Elelyon Noa.
The newcomer took an inside shovel pass and shook off at least a half dozen defenders on his way to a 72-yard scamper down to the Huskers 18.
Two plays later Aiden Wiberg ran in from four yards out to put the Sun ahead 16-0.
Following a conceded safety, Feaver came into the game and marched the Huskers 75 yards in just 39 seconds, capping the drive with a three yard strike to Tyson George-Kelly on the final play of the half.
The Sun put up just 150 yards of offence in the opening half as the Huskers seemed hell bent on stopping the Sun running game at all costs.
"That defensive game plan they had was incredible. We thought we could use the same game plan as last week and not change anything and they were able to come out and execute.
"I think they made some great adjustments and we tried to keep everything vanilla from last week. It obviously played out in their favour the way they thought it would. Untimely penalties on our side really played a big part too."
The Sun came out in the second half and, following a Muchael Jourdin interception on the first play, marched down the field, getting a 27-yard field goal from Liam Attwood to go up 19-9.
Two drives later, Noa ran in from seven yards out to put the Sun up 26-9.
The teams traded touchdowns in the final quarter before the Sun defence was able to shut down the Huskers, stopping them on downs three times over the final 15 minutes.
The Sun managed just 315 yards of total offence in the game including just 153 yards on the ground, much of that in the final quarter.
Noa was held to just 54 yards on the ground as the Huskers stacked the box every time he was in the backfield.
The Sun will travel to Victoria next Saturday for the BCFC final. The unbeaten Westshore Rebels earned the right to host the Cullen Cup final with a 40-14 win over Langley in the other semi-final Saturday.
Westshore handed the Sun their only defeat this season, a 52-23 pounding in the provincial capital.
The winner of that game will host the national championship game in three weeks.
The Okanagan Sun kick off the BC Football Conference playoffs Saturday with the hopes of another long post season run.
The reigning BCFC and Canadian Bowl champions open the playoffs Saturday afternoon against the Valley Huskers at the Apple Bowl.
Kickoff is 2 p.m.
It's the same Huskers team the Sun dispatched 46-7 a week ago in Chilliwack to clinch home field advantage in the semi-final and a team they clubbed 62-6 two months ago in their home opener.
But, despite two lopsided wins, the Sun say they are not taking their opponent lightly.
"Our guys are not complacent. In order to earn that opportunity to play Westshore again we have to beat this team for a third time. We had the same situation with PG a few weeks ago and I think our guys have risen to the occasion," said Sun head coach Travis Miller prior to practice earlier this week.
"We're primed and ready to go as a group. Nobody in taking Chilliwack lightly. We know they are coming in early and fully prepared to execute."
And, despite a lopsided win a week ago, Miller says the Huskers gave them all they could handle in the early going.
"They are a much more resilient team than we anticipated. When you beat a team 62-6 you anticipate coming in and being able to roll over them.
"They were definitely a resilient group and came out and gave us all we could handle through the first quarter and into the second."
The Sun have utilized three quarterbacks this season, partly due to an injury to starter Liam Kroeger who finally returned to the field for one series against the Huskers.
But, with Kroeger on the mend and veteran Adam Rocha healthy, it will be Hunter Norman who started the season third on the depth chart who will get the ball Saturday.
Norman has been impressive after coming to the team from Langley during the off season.
In limited action, Norman has completed more than 81 per cent of his passes for 879 yards and 11 touchdowns, amassing a quarterback rating of 145.3 (a perfect QB rating is 158.3).
"He's come a long way since the beginning of the season. We saw what he did to us last year when he played for Langley and he diced us up pretty good in that first playoff game. We know what he is capable of and we're excited to have him start for us this weekend."
The backfield will again be led by newcomer Elelyon Noa who has 550 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns since joining the team three games ago.
Miller says the addition of Noa has elevated the offence and pushed the running back group he says was already enjoying a good season.
He's also a headache for opposing teams to game plan against.
"Whenever you have someone they have to game plan for it opens up other avenues for us to take advantage of."
The winner of Saturday's semi will face the winner of the other semi-final between unbeaten Westshore Rebels and the Langley Rams.
The BCFC champion will host this year's Canadian Bowl
The Okanagan Sun put an exclamation point on the BC Football Conference regular season.
The defence forced seven turnovers including turnovers on the first five possessions and the offence put up nearly 600 yards of total offence in a 46-7 dismantling of the Valley Huskers Saturday afternoon in Chilliwack.
The win, in the final game of the regular season, sets up a rematch between the two teams next Saturday at the Apple Bowl in one BCFC playoff semi-final.
The Huskers struggled to get anything going offensively save for the first drive of the game when they took the opening kickoff and marched down to the 15 before Philip Palmarin snuffed out the drive with an interception at the goal line.
The stifling defence forced the Huskers to turn the ball over on each of their next four possessions, including interceptions by Kenley Williams and Michael Jourdan and two turnovers on downs.
The offence turned those into 17 points.
Quarterback Hunter Norman, who alternated with Adam Rocha throughout the opening half, engineered both touchdown drives in the opening half.
Following a turnover on downs, he led the team 60 yards on nine plays, culminating in Aidan Wiberg's first of two rushing touchdowns from 15 yards out to open the scoring.
Five minutes into the second following Jourdan's interception, Norman capped a four play, 40 yard drive with a three yard strike to Elelyon Noa. Liam Attwood converted a pair of field goals in the opening half for the Sun.
Norman, who went most of the way in the second half, opened the third with a 64-yard dart to Sam Melanson, moving the ball to the Huskers 13. Four plays later, Wiberg walked in from two yards out to put the Sun up 27-7.
Noa ran in his second of the contest later in the quarter while Attwood connected from 38 yards out and a conceded safety out the Sun up 39-7 after three.
Norman closed out the scoring on the opening play of the fourth quarter, hitting Ethan Marshall from 24 yards out.
The lone blemish on an otherwise stellar afternoon for Norman came in the dying moments of the opening half when he was picked off deep in Huskers territory. The ensuing runback put the ball on the Sun nine yard line.
Five plays later, BCFC leading rusher Reece Wyke barrelled in from a yard out for the Huskers only points on the afternoon.
Norman completed 14 of 17 passes he threw for 263 yards and one score.
Liam Kroeger, who has not played since early in the season due to injury came in for one series later in the fourth quarter.
He did not complete one of his two throws and was intercepted on his final toss.
Noa, in his third game withe the Sun ran for 136 yards and a touchdown and caught three balls for 15 yards and a score.
Defensive lineman Devon Guy who came into the game with five tackles was a one man wrecking crew, amassing three quarterbacks sacks in the game.
The Sun finished the campaign 8-1 while the Huskers finished 7-3.
Next Saturday's semi-final is scheduled to kick off at the Apple Bowl at 2 p.m.
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